November 20 - December 10
Music And More Thanksgiving Weekend
Jujubes -- honey locust -- and pistachios – Oh My...
Boyce Thompson Arboretum boasts 'Arizona's Fall Foliage Finale' each November, a full glorious month after the colorful aspen and maple leaves have already fallen and denuded trees of Arizona's higher elevation deciduous forests. Foliage is right on schedule again this year; predicted to peak November 23-24, and the week prior to Thanksgiving.
Mesa residents Gale and Roger Racut, at left, found one famously precocious pistachio tree in late October that was already sporting a range of red, weeks before its larger siblings now look their best in gardens throughout the Arboretum. Could autumn truly be complete without getting outside to enjoy splendid fall foliage and the swirl of leaves carried on a November breeze?
Most famous are the Forty-Foot Chinese Pistachio trees across from the Wing Memorial Herb Garden, and the ones near the suspension bridge at the east end of the High Trail. One photogenic Chinese Pistachio in our Demonstration Garden is at its best from November 20-30. Plan a visit during ThanksgivingWeekend 2013 to attend the annual Fall Foliage Finale Festival with includes
live music fromScott Schaefer (flute, didgeridoo, guzheng) and friends. We also have hot spiced cider and arts and crafts vendors both days of the weekend, with events from about 10:00 a.m. til 3:00 p.m.
For seasonal updates and reports on the Fall color as it progresses Check our Facebook page or else Call staff at 520-689-2723 during daytime business hours.
improve your camera skills and Fall color photography at
What trees bring Autumn glory to the Arboretum? Our 40-foot tall Chinese Pistachio trees are usually most vivid across from the Wing Memorial Herb Garden, near the suspension bridge at the east end of the High Trail -- and also near the Smith Building and in the center of our Demonstration Garden.
The cluster of Pistachio located above Ayer Lake had bright foliage earlier this month; and the photogenic single tree in our Demonstration Garden has not yet reached peak color (as of this report, posted November 18, Monday).
New arrivals to the Grand Canyon State are pleasantly surprised to learn that yes, vivid and photogenic autumn color can be found here in Arizona. Nowhere is it more conveniently photographed than here at the Arboretum, just one hour east ofPhoenix or two hour's drive north of Tucson. A simple point-and-shoot 4-megapixel Olympus took several of the closeup photos on this page.
During September and October Arboretum staff answer frequent phone calls and emails asking a familiar question: "where can I find the best foliage?" Around mid-October the aspens turn golden in the San Francisco Peaks north of Flagstaff, followed by trees lining the West Fork ofOak Creek Canyon north of Sedona. The weekend prior toHalloween is typically best for the maples turning red in the central and southern Arizona mountain ranges such as the Pinals near Globe and the Catalinas near Tucson.
Boyce Thompson Arboretum has "Arizona's Fall Foliage Finale" about a month after the most colorful leaves have fallen in the higher elevation deciduous forests. Peak color at the Arboretum varies each year, but optimal weeks are typically from about Nov. 20 through Dec. 5. Could autumn truly be complete without getting outside to enjoy splendid fall color and the swirl of leaves carried on a November breeze?
Golden backlit leaves of a honey locust are shown at right, colorful clusters of pyracantha berries are below, and red pistachio leaves are featured on this page. Bring plenty of film when you visit... a chair and good book, too: there are many places around our trails and gardens to find a quiet place to sit, read and enjoy the gentle sounds of November.
Visit at the end of our foliage season and December gusts will send pumpkin-orange, red and yellow leaves swirling alongside the trails as you walk through forested collections on a breezy day. More than two miles of paths meander pastPistachio trees, Pomegranate hedges, Combredum and other species, sothe Arboretum offers yourfamily and friends a fine Autumnal outing. Tourists flock to New Hampshire and Vermont to see colors like these -- and if you haven't made the effort to get out and see our own foliage right here in Arizona, these images should provide sufficient motivation.
Pistachio trees turn orange, golden and red hues. There are more than a dozen pistachio trees around our grounds, mature ones with leafy canopies that sprawl 40 feet above.The right mix of temperature and moisture conditions brings peak color to the grove of trees across from the Wing Memorial Herb Garden, where golden autumnal pomegranate hedges lead towards thepumpkin-orange pistachios. One of our most impressive and colorful pistachios is within five minutes walk from the visitor center, and easily accessible to visitors who use walkers or wheelchairs
According to Boyce Thompson Arboretum Horticulturist Kim Stone,"trees with yellow leaves run from mid-October to early November, while trees with orange to red leavesare at peak colorfrom mid-November through early December. Combretum is usually best in late December but will remain red for several months since these don't drop theirleaves."Stone adds that varieties which show color from yellow to golden or copper tones include Honey Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos ssp. inermis), Pomegranate (Punica granatum), and Soapberry (Sapindus saponaria var. drummondii). Also look for Canyon Hackberry (Celtis reticulata), Arizona Sycamore(Platanus racemosa var. wrightii), Pecan and also fruit trees including Jujube (Ziziphus jujube), Native Ash, Black Walnut, Willow, and Cottonwood. Festive clumps of red pyracantha berries (above at right) ripen each fall near the Herb Garden.These are favored by colorful birds such as Northern Cardinal, Spotted Towhee, Phainopepla... and comical little cliff chipmunks and squirrels.
EDITOR'S FALL FOLIAGE UPDATE: as of October 29, 2013 the Jujube trees east of the Herb Garden have shed most of their leaves; those that remain are bright yellow. Honey Locust and Varnish trees will be next, turning color from Oct. 30-Nov.7. Look for our first pistachio that's already vivid red on "The catwalk" near the pumphouse along Queen Creek. Other pistachios will turn color from approximately Nov. 15-30.
Composing a family portrait? Don't miss the pistache in our Demonstration Garden, arguably the most easy-to-access of them all, less than a minute by wheelchair from the picnic area parking lot. Arrange family or friends on the bench beneath this tree, with the canopy of color overhead, and you've got the makings of a glorious portrait.
Another 'late-bloomer' to watch for is the one still loaded with fruit and bustling with foraging birds in the picnic area. Leaves that are green and going orange and red line the trunk, right at eye-level, and will redden and fall over the next ten days.
A patch of pistachios above Ayer Lake are less camera-ready, but often another good spot to see Red-shafted Flickers and other birds.
Look just west of the Herb Garden collection for the pyracantha bush loaded with fruit. Bring a recent magazine or that Summer reading book you meant to finish... plan to spend a peaceful afternoon reading beneath the pistachio tree right in the heart of our Demonstration Garden, where pergolas, waterfalls and warm late afternoon sunshine create a serene atmosphere.
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